We have a long history of farming on both sides of our family. Terry Burke, the Winemaker, and myself, Jan Burke, the Manager, married in 1973, and started to farm on the Royal Slope.
The land was first farmed by Terry’s parents, Guthrie and Viola. Guthrie was an early farmer in this area when the Columbia Basin Project was built and the water was brought to this desert region from the Grand Coulee Dam. Terry came back to the area after serving in the Navy during the Vietnam War, to attend college and return to farming Alfalfa and Timothy hay.
My parents, Bob and Shirley Muller, had a dairy farm and milk store in Redmond, Washington, within the Sammamish Valley. In my early years, I helped bottle and sell milk which was excellent preparation for my current work – bottling and selling wine.
This wine adventure started from 21 vines brought to the farm by our oldest son, Scott. As they years went by, we slowly stepped away from the hay fields, to grow more grape vines and begin making wine.
Most of the work of the winery and vineyard is done by hand and all four of our children, as well as their spouses and our grandchildren, all come to the farm at harvest time to pitch in.
Our oldest son, Scott, began encouraging us to make our own wine when he took viticulture classes while studying at Washington State University. He and his wife, Friederike, love getting into the winemaking process and usually come from their home in Germany during that time, bringing along their two young children as well.
Our middle son, Todd, and his wife, Emily, have been taking an interest in photography, the website, and social media platforms for Burke Vineyard. Their four children love coming in the late summer and fall to help with pruning and harvest.
Our daughter, Jennifer, and her husband, Abdean, really enjoy our wine and like to partake in all phases of the vineyard and winemaking, making the trip over the mountains from Western Washington several times throughout the year.
Jonathan and his wife, Kendra, live just down the road and have taken over the hay farming. They also often help with harvest as well as some of the heavy lifting during pressing of the grapes and bottling the wine. Their daughters have helped with everything from painting in the tasting room to custom making signs, and of course, with pruning and the harvest.
The Winemaker and I are very lucky to have four wonderful children and their families to help with this Big, Bold Wine Project of ours!